Many parents will agree that working from home, for the most part, has been lovely. With more time to spare, it has meant that we've gotten to spend more time with family. For remote working parents with young children, it's meant we've had the chance to be there for many of the 'firsts', (while working, of course). However, that's not to say it hasn't come with its fair set of challenges. Things like having to set boundaries between home and work life, and finding time for oneself, can be tricky to navigate when you find yourself at home 24/7. So, here are some tips on how to maximise this time at home while hopefully still getting to enjoy every bit of it!
If you have young children that require constant supervision, you might find that there is simply no other way of getting in the hours you need to without asking for help. Whether it's utilising the services of an au pair for a few hours a day or enlisting the help of a family member to watch the kids for a few hours a day, this break can give you the space you need to be productive knowing that your kids are in good hands.
Of course, paying attention to where you'll be working is important too, even if your workspace happens to be in your living room or bedroom for that matter. Furthermore, creating a professional-looking and inviting space could be just the motivation you need to start the day off on a good note. Again, you'll want to focus on getting the right furniture for your home office space, including a suitable desk and chair as well as the right office equipment to help you work at your best. For example, noise-canceling earphones work like a charm if you find it difficult to concentrate with lots of noise in the background.
Proper organisation is essential if you have lots of paperwork to manage (and to steer it clear of inquisitive fingers, too). So don't forget to include a filing cabinet or two in your home office setup. Also, having all the things you need in one place is handy too. So, this may require a bit of reshuffling, and redesigning your living room/ home office, for instance, to accommodate both spaces whilst still giving the appearance that they are separate from each other.
Working from home and spending time with the family can make it hard to make time for you. However, self-care is vital if you want to be the best you can be. This can only be achieved if you set aside time to do those things that make you smile on the inside, like taking a break every now and again to read your favorite book or catch up on your favorite series, for example.
Apart from this, there are also practical things you can do in your home office space to make it feel calmer and a pleasure to work in. Decluttering is one of them, as is decorating your space with items such as pictures, pot plants, or your favorite motivational quotes to inspire you. What about keeping a stash of your favorite teatime treats and beverages on standby to uplift your mood on stressful days? Also, don't be shy to remove those eyesores that tend to bring out the worst in you. After all, this is your space and your space entirely.
Timing is everything when managing work and family life while working from home. So it's best to pick wisely if your schedule allows it, and work when the kids aren't at their liveliest. This might mean working your heart out during nap time or during the wee hours of the morning to get the majority of your work done, so you can still interact with the little ones when they need your attention the most.
In summary, being a parent and working from home is looking like it's here to stay. If that's you, and you're feeling like you're at your wit's end already because you're not sure if you can cope with the demands of both, just know that it is possible to juggle the two - and not just half-heartedly either. Because with the proper planning, you can enjoy the best of two worlds whilst experiencing the downtime you deserve too.